Influence of visual attention on male body dissatisfaction after idealized media exposure

Sanne W.C. Nikkelen, Doeschka J. Anschutz, Thao Ha, Rutger C.M.E. Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined the moderating effect of men's visual attention toward male images on the relationship between idealized media exposure and body dissatisfaction. Of particular interest was men's visual attention to the abdomens and upper bodies of male images. Fifty male undergraduate students participated in this two-part experiment. In the first session, participants' visual attention to nine male body parts was examined using eye-tracking. In the second session, participants watched a nonemotional documentary interrupted by either neutral commercials or commercials containing highly idealized muscular men. Subsequently, body dissatisfaction was measured. The findings revealed that when viewing idealized media content, men with high visual attention to the abdomen felt better about their body compared to men with low visual attention to the abdomen. In contrast, when viewing neutral media content, men with high visual attention to the abdomen felt worse about their body compared to men with low visual attention to the abdomen. Findings of our study indicate that idealized media images do not affect all men negatively. We suggest that men who allocate a great amount of visual attention to the abdomen may be preoccupied with changing their appearance and therefore they are positively affected by idealized images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-323
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Eye-tracking
  • Media influences
  • Men's body dissatisfaction
  • Muscular ideal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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